Last week I took my daughter to her first Red Sox game. We got there early, explored the ballpark, and enjoyed some Fenway Franks, peanuts and ice cream while we watched the first four innings. We left before the first rain delay of the 2013 season. This game was also a long-term milestone for the team, as it was their first non-sold-out game in ten years.
On the train ride to Boston’s North Station, I used a new payment system provided by the MBTA; mTicket, a mobile app that lets you buy your ticket and activate it when you board. I worried that it wouldn’t work, or that the T conductor had never heard of it, and we’d get tossed from the last car at a low speed. Instead, the app worked perfectly.
On the subway ride to the ballpark, we saw several people reading books on Kindles and other handheld devices. During the game, a lot of people took pictures with their phones, of the game, the players, and each other. I joined in the fun, and we’ve all seen Facebook friends posting pics of themselves at the game. People take mobile pics at rock concerts, too. It harkens back to the (circa 2004) obnoxious use of cell phones while sitting behind home plate.
All of that is disruption.
Innovation has made it possible to disrupt one industry after another, from home delivery of groceries to genetic RNA interference. In the realm of education and training, Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, allow countless users to take part in university courses, which may be regular in-person courses or specialized for online learning.
In business, online video and online presentations have become a disruptive tool for sales and marketing, as more video communications tools emerge and more conferences occur online. I remember when we thought videoconferencing was a killer for the airline industry, but in reality online video and presentations have enhanced live events, while the real killer apps aren’t just about communication, but collaboration.
Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen has led the discussion on disruptive innovation for years. His books have focused on new technologies and mechanisms that have changed companies, industries, and the world. We think of mobile devices and social websites as disruptive innovations, and they are; but it doesn’t have to be technology. Business methods and ideas can also turn the tables on how things are.
It’s important to note that disruptive technologies and ideas are nearly impossible to identify, except to visionaries. This is because they should be characterized not by what they are, but for what they aren’t:
In online media, whether it is for communications or social sharing, disruption is driving incredible changes in the way we do things. It’s already hard to imagine how we got by without Facebook, and five years from now we’ll wonder how we survived without something some software developer is creating right now.
But disruption still has its holdouts. On the subway ride home, I saw a student reading Clayton Christensen’s book “Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns”.
Originally published on The KnowledgeVision Fresh Ideas Blog.
As we enter Cyber Week 2012, we know that record numbers of shoppers hit the stores over Thanksgiving weekend. Among the online shopping trends we’ve seen include multi-channel shopping, mobile advertising, and opening times that are earlier than ever.
Another trend is that stores are pushing for in-store sales, using sales that aren’t available online and by guaranteed price-matching.
But the biggest trend appeared earlier in the year, when 2012 officially became the first year that online clothing purchases, or purchases influenced by the web, surpassed those made in a store. The driving factors in online retail are increased use of mobile devices and tablets, and an increasing emphasis on video. It turns out that 40% of video viewers wind up in the store or on the store’s website.
That’s huge. Do 4 out of ten viewers of television ads drop everything and head for the store? Nope. No way.
Awhile back I wrote about whether viral video matters. For any company that needs to make a big splash in the social realm, it might. But for the rest of us, who stand a one-in-a-zillion chance of making a viral video by trying, what really matters is the success of our overall video strategy. Here’s a hint: it’s not measured in views.
But what criteria should we measure the success of a video campaign? I’ve talked about the 8 most important video metrics, too, and guess what? Views weren’t one of those, either. Instead, the measurements were about shares, conversions, playthroughs, social engagement, and search activity driven by your videos.
Does anyone else get annoyed at the word ‘lead’? I know I do. Yet, ‘lead nurturing’ is a very well-known term for ‘staying in touch with people’. That’s why it’s up there in the title; it’s a highly-searched keyword, doncha know?
What is lead nurturing? In short, it is a program of email messages, in addition to your regular newsletters, sent to people who once visited your website or some other web property and gave you their name and email address. By following best practices, you’ve verified that they knew what they were getting into, so it’s not spam as far as you’re concerned (email recipients tend to use a broader definition of what they consider ‘spam’). You send email on a regular schedule that reminds people you exist and do something they were once interested in.
In my spare time I clamber around in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. And I’m not talking about 20-minute jaunts to pretty waterfalls. I mean multi-day adventures with one of my children and all our gear on my back. Now, New Hampshire’s mountains are smaller than most peaks around the world, and even the most remote peaks are no more than a half-day’s hike from a road complete with restaurants, hotels, and gas stations, but what they do have is extreme weather.
According to Not Without Peril by Nicholas Howe, three major storm systems gather over Mt. Washington, New Hampshire’s highest peak, throughout the year, causing sudden thunderstorms and whiteouts. The wind, which can be gusty on the best of days, is a major factor, because it robs you of warmth, your breath, and will. People who lose the trail in a whiteout are immediately on their own, with no chance to be heard.
By now you probably know about the New York Times’ little email error on Wednesday, December 27. But if you don’t, here’s the nutshell: The Times sent a ‘Cancellation’ email to 8.6 million people, presumably every single one of their online email subscribers. The email was meant only for those who actually subscribe to the paper’s home delivery service.
First the Times claimed it was spam, then blamed their email service provider Epsilon, and finally fessed up; The Times did it themselves.
As I’m sure we’re all wondering: How exactly did it happen? And how can you avoid it? Only people at the Times know for sure, but it’s possible, in fact easy, to guess. In fact, it’s a worthwhile exercise, because it may help you to avoid copying their mistake.
That’s what I was asked recently. “Sounds great to me,” I answered. “Are we revving up our stock cars at the Brickyard? Are we pedaling up the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire? Are we heading toward Heartbreak Hill while running the Boston Marathon?”
No. We were in a business setting, discussing a PowerPoint template or something like that. We were in a place where competition doesn’t belong.
Did I just say that? There are places where competition doesn’t belong? Yes, I did.
PowerPoint, Flash, Whiteboards, Video, Podcasts, Banners,
Whitepapers, Webinars, eBooks, Newsletters, Surveys, Social Feeds, Blogs…
Anyone else sick of it all? Maybe I’m a little tired from playing with my children (admittedly something I put every ounce of energy into), but I feel like I’m starving for something. The products and tactics above have become unbearably dull to me.